There Will Be 72,556 Extra Suicides This Year
Because Of The Massive Unemployment

by Mark R. Elsis

As of May 3, 2020, the cold hard facts are there will be 72,556 extra suicides this year because of the massive unemployment caused by the unprecedented crisis.

In the last six weeks, March 15 through April 25, 30,307,000 people filed for unemployment for the first time, according to the most recent and updated Department of Labor figures. Add that to March's 7,140,000 unemployed figure sampled in the second week of the month, and the total is 37,447,000. With a civilian labor force of 162,913,000, that's a 22.99% unemployment rate. We’re even approaching the 23.6% of 1932 and 24.9% of 1933 in the Great Depression. (1)

Unemployment is a well-established risk factor for suicide. Approximately 1 in 3 people who die by suicide are unemployed at the time of their deaths. For every one-point increase in the unemployment rate, the suicide rate tends to increase .78 points. One of the silent drivers of our current suicide crisis is the high percentage of working-age men not participating in the labor force. (2)

In 2018, there were 48,344 recorded suicides. Once you add in the 1.6% increase in the suicide rate for 2019 and 2020 there would be 49,903.4 recorded suicides. For a full breakdown on the math of the 2019 and 2020 increase to the suicide rate see below. (3)

So the 2020 suicide rate would have been 49,903.4 / .078 equals 3,892.5 suicides for every one-point increase in unemployment.

The unemployment rate before this crisis was 4.35%. Now it is 22.99%. This means that there has been an 18.64% increase in the unemployment rate. So, this 18.64% extra unemployment rate x 3,892.5 deaths equals 72,556.2 extra suicides this year.

Confirming The 2019 And 2020 Increase To The Suicide Rate

The annual U.S. suicide rate has increased 24% between 1999 and 2014. So, during these 15 years / 24% equals a 1.6% increase per year. That means the 2019 suicide rate would have been 48,344 x .016 equals 773.5 extra suicides; 48,344 + 773.5 equals 49,117.5 total suicides for 2019. The 2020 suicide rate would have been 49,117.5 x .016 equals 785.9 extra suicides; 49,117.5 + 785.9 equals 49,903.4 total suicides for 2019.


1) We Have At Least 23% Unemployment And Maybe More Than The Great Depression

by Erik Sherman

2) Will COVID-19 Make The Suicide Crisis Worse?

by Glenn Sullivan Ph.D.

3) Suicide In The United States

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